Baker’s Dozen with Mary Quicke

To capture a slice of life on Home Farm, we put our baker’s dozen of questions to Mary Quicke, whose family have run the Devonshire farm for 14 generations, and whose cheese we love to eat.


1. What time did you get up this morning?

2. How do you take your coffee?
I prefer tea. A flat white, if I must.

3. What do you usually have for breakfast?
Cheese starter (like a cheddary yogurt – yum), fruit that I grow in my garden, seeds, nuts, rolled oats and wheat germ.

4. How do you and GAIL’s know each other?
You make magic out of our cheese, butter, whey and buttermilk.

5. What’s the first food you remember loving as a child?
Poached salmon.

6. Have you ever baked bread? How did that go?
I love baking bread. My mother taught all her six children to bake the Doris Grant loaf, with wholemeal flour and a single rise. My favourite is a seedy spelt wholemeal loaf.

7. What does the smell of freshly baked bread remind you of?
Home. Comfort. Love. Happiness

8. What do you spread on your toast?
Quicke’s whey butter.

9. For us, bread is the fundamental thing. What’s fundamental for you?
Cheese! With great bread. And salad that I grow from heaps of different plants.

10. What’s in your ultimate sandwich?
Homemade wholemeal bread, or a sourdough if it’s not my own. Our whey butter and Cheddar and plenty of my salad leaves crammed in.

11. If we could give you a lifetime supply of anything we make, what would that be?
Cheese scones!

12. We work with three primary ingredients. Four if you include time. What are the main ingredients in your life and work, concrete or abstract?
Milk, starter, rennet, salt, time and love.

13. What would you do for a living if not this?
That’s difficult – maybe I’d make extraordinary flavoured salads?


Why the butter’s as important as the bread


We work closely with our friends at Quicke’s to ensure nothing from the Clothbound Cheddar that we buy goes to waste; from the whey strained from the curds at the beginning of the process, to the crumbly bits that don’t make it into a slice.

We first met Quicke’s on our quest to find the perfect cheddar for our Ham and Cheese Sandwich. We still love the richness of Quicke’s Clothbound Cheddar, and to us it’s the perfect pairing with roasted ham, mustard butter and French Dark Sourdough, which is why it’s been pride of place in our bakeries ever since.



We’re proud to butter our toast with Quicke’s Whey Butter. It’s made with whey cream, a bi-product from the Cheddar cheese-making process that would otherwise go to waste. Quicke’s add milk from their grass-fed herd to the whey cream and follow a rare heritage recipe to make the butter.

Whey butter is recognised by the slow foods movement as one of the great ‘forgotten foods’ and we love its rich and nutty flavour. Come in to try some on toast or a freshly baked Cheese and Chive Scone.



We started selling this bread in our shops this year – it’s made with Quicke’s Clothbound Cheddar and we love it on its own and we also make a lunch or tea sandwich with smoked Merano Speck.

We buy the whole wheel of cheese from Quicke’s for our Ham and Cheese sandwich, but to get a clean slice, the ‘core’ of the cheese is removed for easier cutting.

To put the core to good use, we’ve developed the Cheddar Stick, which is made using the offcuts of the Clothbound Cheddar. We mix the offcuts into a sourdough base, with thyme, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.

As the amount of offcuts fluctuates depending on how many Ham and Cheese sandwiches we make, so does the number of Cheddar Sticks that we bake.

We are excited by both the opportunity and challenge of working with Quicke’s beautiful dairy – watch this space as we keep developing more recipes.


Click here to read our Baker’s Dozen with Mary Quicke, whose family have run the Devonshire farm for 14 generations.


Christmas Baking Classes

To get into the festive spirit, we’ll be running Christmas baking classes for children in selected bakeries. Find out class dates and which bakeries are hosting classes below.

If you’d like your little ones to join us, please visit or call one of our bakeries below and let the team know. Please note all classes start at 4pm.


Tuesday 11th December
West Hampstead
Clapham Old Town

Wednesday 12th December
Temple Fortune
Seymour Place

Thursday 13th October
Swain’s Lane
Crouch End
Clapham Old Town


Christmas at GAIL’s

Christmas is a million moments.

The first card you receive through the post and the last one you pop through your neighbour’s letterbox. A hold-your-breath Nativity play (nervous shepherd, second row on the right) and a hug and well-deserved star-shaped biscuit afterwards. It’s opening tomorrow’s window on the Advent calendar today because you can’t wait.

The aroma of wood smoke and of buns warming in the oven for breakfast – redolent of orange and vanilla or chocolate and almond – that wakes even a hibernating teenager. A sip of champagne and a nibble to share with friends you haven’t seen in too long.

The crunch and the spirit while shopping lifts you up and wears you down. The wrapped packages that say ‘thank you’ to teachers and friends at work with every bite. Enjoying sweet before savoury and feasting throughout the day, as Christmas Eve turns into Christmas and you tuck the last present under the tree with a yawn.

Reviewing a to-do list that keeps getting longer over a tray of bread and cheese. And it’s remembering that the list doesn’t really matter, because Christmas arrives anyway, just like it does every year. Savouring the indulgence and the ride of festive traditions. Merry Christmas!


Sprinkled with Demerara sugar

Christmas Buns Made with frangipane, chocolate crumbs, cinnamon, candied orange zest and vanilla. Iced with orange crème fraîche. Baked throughout the day.

Christmas Sandwich

Smoked turkey, Mayfield Swiss cheese, chipotle aioli and bacon jam on Malted Wholegrain Sourdough.

Iced Bauble Biscuits

Lightly spiced speculoos biscuits shaped into a festive bauble and iced with royal icing.

Speculoos Cookies

Lightly spiced speculoos cookies. 

Sour Cherry & Chocolate Drop Cookies

Rich chocolate cookies with almonds and sour cherries.

Cinnamon Stars

Made only with nuts, cinnamon, sugar and eggs (no dairy, no flour), this southern German Christmas speciality is a new favourite of ours. We use a combination of almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts to make them a little bit more special and add brown sugar to the spice, so it captures all the festive flavours.

Amaretti Cookies

Made without wheat flour. A chewy almond macaroon-like cookie, traditionally from Lombardy, Italy.

Star Anise & Clementine Organic Jam

Festive citrusy jam, perfect with toasted French Dark Sourdough.

Fennel & Sultana Sourdough

Our festive loaf made with jammy sultanas and crushed toasted fennel seeds.
Bigger than our everyday loaves, it’s perfect for sharing and serving with cheese.

Stencilled French Dark Sourdough

White and wholemeal wheat flour, water and salt. The quintessential wholemeal sourdough and our signature loaf.


Win a GAIL’s Christmas Hamper with Bramley Soap

We are delighted to give away a Christmas gift box (RRP £85) with some of our favourite festive goodies. Enter for your chance to win a box of our Mince Pies, Cinnamon Stars, Amaretti, Sour Cherry & Chocolate Drop Cookies, Speculoos Biscuits, our festive Clementine & Star Anise Jam and Bramley’s Fern gift set, which includes hand wash, hand cream, body wash and body lotion.

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Competition Terms and Conditions

• The competition closes at midnight on Sunday 16th December 2018 and winners will be randomly selected and then contacted by email on Monday 17th December 2018.
• There will be 1 winner selected at random and the winner will have 7 calendar days to reply and accept the prize. If the winner does not reply within 7 days, a new winner will be selected at random.
• The prize cannot be redeemed for any other and there is no cash alternative.
• We incentivise your consent to signing up to our newsletter with the entry to this competition. You can unsubscribe at any time after signing up without detriment to you or your entry to the competition. Click here to view our newsletter privacy notice.
• Those who are already subscribed to our newsletter can still enter the competition.
• This competition is run by GAIL’s Bakery, 4 – 6 Seymour Place, London, W1H 7NA, UK

Moroccan Lamb Harira Soup Recipe

Moroccan Harira Soup – Serves 8 – 10 as a main

Traditionally eaten during Ramadan to break the fast, with a handful of medjool dates.


700g lamb mince
3 medium onions or 2 large, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
5 celery stalks, diced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
400g chickpeas, tinned or jarred
330g red lentils
2 litres of lamb or chicken stock
1.2 litres of water
3 desiree potatoes, peeled and diced into large cubes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander seed
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground milled pepper, to taste
2 lemons, juiced
Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped


1. Heat the olive oil in the pan, then add the garlic, celery and onion. Fry for 10 minutes until softened.

2. Add the minced lamb into the pan to lightly brown, breaking up into pieces as it fries. After ten minutes, add the spices and fry for another two minutes, until the spices become fragrant.

3. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils while stirring, to ensure the spices are mixed through.

4. Cover with the stock and water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add in the diced potatoes and leave to simmer for another 20 minutes.

6. Check that the potatoes and lentils are tender, then remove the saucepan from the heat.

7. Stir through the lemon juice and add salt and freshly milled pepper to taste.

8. Sprinkle over the chopped herbs and serve with a thick slice of sourdough.